“There are so many ways to sugarcoat this, but I’m going to be honest with you: this project was born out of anger,” wrote editor Bill Campbell in the introduction. Back when Ferguson, Missouri was shrouded with daily protests over the death of Michael Brown, who was shot dead by police officer Daniel Wilson, the country was a landfill of hot button issues no one really wanted to touch — issues of race, American exceptionalism, and the military industrial complex. But for some people, the best way to channel that anger and frustration was through art.
Artists Against Police Brutality: A Comic Book Anthology is a collection of comic, essays, and short stories about the damage police violence has done to black Americans. From cynical views of the American judicial system to singling out white liberals who misunderstand the issue, APB is a depressingly realistic take on the current racial climate in America. With contributions from more than 50 artists and illustrators, APB puts a human face, a personal touch, to stories most only read about in newspapers. AFB shortens the gap between impersonal news coverage and the reality of the people suffering from it, illustrating that the daily victims of police violence are more than just numbers.
All proceeds will go to the Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Monday, November 16th, 2015||No Comments »|
Brother Ali, the blind and albino hip hop artist who dropped the track “Uncle Sam Goddamn,” isn’t afraid to make a statement in his music, and if this is your first time listening to him, he’s sure to leave an impression. Defying the odds, Ali manages to see so much without being able to see at all, making a rather bold statement on America, “land of the free.”
His chorus alone is dense enough to spend hours unpacking, and when the verses start flowing so does the dialogue of social justice and what it means to be a citizen of the United States.
Welcome to the United Snakes
Land of the thief home of the slave
The grand imperial guard where the dollar is sacred and power is God
His powerful lyrics may not be what you want to hear, but it is no doubt something you should be hearing.
|Recommended by Chelsey Grasso||Thursday, April 30th, 2015||No Comments »|
Emory Douglas was just a college student when he joined the Black Panthers as their art director. Inspired by revolutionaries from across the world, his bold illustrations became the party’s visual identity. Most of his art was created for the Black Panthers newspaper, a visually rich publication that made art its central focus. The idea was that by using art, the Panthers’ message could be easily understood by everyone, regardless of economic background or reading level.
Although the Black Panthers disbanded in the early ’80s, Douglas’s art lives on. From books to art exhibits, Douglas’s art is as much a history lesson as it is a mirror of society’s repeated mistakes. The above images are a selection of curated works taken from Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas. Weirdly enough, despite being more than 30 years old, his art seems more relevant today than ever before. If you’re a lover of history or revolutionary art, Douglas is an artist you must know.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Monday, March 2nd, 2015||No Comments »|
The game might be called Social Justice Warriors, and you might be playing as the titular character hero, but don’t mistake any of that for support. Social Justice Warriors is a satirical turn-based game about online interactions and the futility of engaging in them–on both sides.
Interesting things to note: both the SJW and the troll are genderless and appear identical; “rightness” is irrelevant, with health measured out by sanity and reputation bars; and the choices you make are a little more complex than “stand up for what you believe in.” As the developer himself points out, a lot of the ambiguity of online interaction is removed for the sake of gameplay in Social Justice Warriors, but the hero may want to watch what kind of attacks they use. Inflammatory character attacks deal way more damage, but is that really the route you want to take?
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Thursday, January 29th, 2015||No Comments »|
This past year has seen a significant amount of attention paid toward unlawful police behavior, whether it’s gunning down unarmed black men or rough handling peaceful protesters. However, these brutish police tactics are nothing new, and for most naive law abiding citizens it might come as a shock how indoctrinated the NYPD’s practices are. In this short video taken a year ago during an Occupy Wall Street protest in New York City, filmmaker Paul Sullivan carefully shows how police intentionally target specific looking people when trying to disperse peaceful protests. The video shows how officers arrest people if they fit a particular profile (usually a protester who’s wearing dark clothing or has a beard) and construct a narrative that conflicts with what actually happened. The video ends with arrest #10 being the filmmaker himself who gets roughed up by a cop who threatens to break his jaw. A pretty fitting conclusion if you ask me.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Wednesday, January 28th, 2015||No Comments »|
Bold feminist Gabriela Ramirez discusses how misogynistic beliefs in our society are at the root of the catcalling problem during a TEDTalk at the DaVinci School in 2013. She begins by defining the word “misogyny” before launching into a hair-raising tongue-lash at street harassers who think it’s a-okay to cat-call women. Ramirez points out that we as a society have never learned to respect others, which is why cat-calling is brushed off by the general public as “no big deal” when in fact it’s a huge issue and causes women of all ages to cautiously monitor their surroundings whenever they step outside.
She also adds that one in five women will be victims of sexual assault before the age of 18 and that the abusers were once teenagers who likely started off committing “small” crimes, like cat-calling. From how the media perpetuates harmful stereotypes to how breast cancer campaigns erase living, breathing women, Ramirez’s speech is an evident wake-up call.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, December 18th, 2014||No Comments »|
Dan Tarnowski’s thought-provoking poetry chapbook Did Your Culture Kick You Out muses on the pitfalls of American society and culture. Although we’d like to believe that the United States is the land of the free and the home of the brave, that is not always so. In fact, Tarnowksi’s poetry points out the severe injustices that are done against innocent Americans.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014||No Comments »|